The beginning of the New Year can be a good time to take stock of what’s working and what you’d like to shift.
Take your life to a new level of satisfaction and experience by cultivating new practices to enhance your aliveness. When you feel more alive, people are naturally attracted to you, you look better, you notice more, and you are more able to be present the moment, versus reactive. Consider these three practices:
Set Aside Reflection Time
Routines are how we get things done, yet, in many work environments, there can be an overfocus on tasks. More leaders understand the importance of cultivating greater ability to innovate in their organizations, to let go of what no longer makes sense, and to recognize and take advantage of an opportunity. This is just as important for individuals. Setting aside regular reflection time supports learning, evaluation, growth, and making conscious choices about what you want more of in your daily life, and to accomplish in the New Year.
In your reflection time, ask yourself: What would you like to experience more of in the New Year? Focus on what would be meaningful and satisfying for you. What would you like less of? Who would you like to spend more time with? What worked well last year? What do you want to build on? What don’t you want to repeat? What’s the next step with any of these? Keep a journal you can write in and review, or set aside a folder on your laptop and keep notes electronically.
Setting aside daily and weekly reflection time is a practice that can change your life. You notice patterns, experience insights and deepen your self-awareness. In your daily reflection, ask yourself what three things worked well that day – or that morning. It only takes a few minutes to do this. When we have busy lives, it can be easy to rush from task to task, responsibility, to responsibility, and be focused on the next task, versus fully present in the moment. You may even become reactive, or feel drained or numb. We are motivated by our accomplishments, and reflecting on what went well is energizing. You may have even forgotten something that went well. Why did it go well? What was it about you that had it go well? This deepens your self-knowledge.
Cultivate an Awareness Practice
When you expand your awareness, you “pick up” on things in a way that gives you an edge. And, you exude a calm aliveness. Practicing meditation daily, walking regularly in nature or outside, yoga, practicing mindfulness are all ways to expand your awareness and aliveness. You can start your practice small.
To experiment with meditation, sit in silence in the morning, sitting straight up, just noticing your breathing for 1 minute. As soon as a thought comes in, just notice that, and let it go; go back to focusing on your the. Do this daily. Work up to 5 minutes and then work up to 10 minutes. This meditation time is a kind of deep nourishment that will support your creativity and ability to manage stress. Many people find yoga to provide that as well, and to be energetically cleansing. Just walking regularly outside for extended periods, for example, 20 minutes or more, can also support cultivating more awareness. Focus on the tree you are coming up to. Notice the clothing and the faces of the people you are walking past. Oh, and smile at people.
Explore a New Community
Have you ever noticed how much you learn from your friends and colleagues? Consider exploring a new way to meet people. A volunteer opportunity with a group that interests you. Perhaps a professional association. Attend a few meetings to find one that calls to you. Something fun. A volleyball league. A hiking club. A class in something you enjoy or have been thinking about. We expand what’s possible in our lives through our relationships with others. We learn about new things, evolve our perspectives, have new life experiences, and may even learn about new work opportunities. Consciously get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You never know what doors may open for you, and you will expand your circle of friends and colleagues as well as your aliveness.
Jackie Sloane is an executive coach and leadership development and organizational change consultant. Her program, Flourish! begins January 14 in Chicago. More about Jackie and the program are here: https://www.sloanecommunications.com/news